The productivity experts across the globe pins down time spent on actual maintenance task by mobile workforce somewhere between 20% to 35%. These numbers surely look quite concerning. Where is the rest of the time going. Studies show that the technicians spend significant time in administrative tasks, waiting for information, waiting for permissions or on break.
The silver lining is that with right focus, disciplined approach and right supporting tools, the wrench time can be increased more than double.
Typically maintenance teams cite different reasons which reduces technician productivity. These include significant time loss because of technicians travelling to administration office multiple times for updating the status of tasks as well as getting the new tasks assigned to them. Several times they have to wait for availability of spare parts as well as tools like cranes. Sometimes approvals for starting the work takes longer than expected. Wrong assignment of tasks or skill mismatch can delay the start of the work. Technicians sometimes cannot carry on task on time as they may not have the SOPs or designs or past history of the equipment handy.
These multiple issues can be tackled with two prolonged approach which may help in increasing the wrench time by more than 100%. These tools can also help in first time closure rate significantly.
First, the planners can work towards prioritizing, planning and dispatching of tasks with real time information instead of archaic and cumbersome way of going through several different tools. They can check check availability of spare parts, tools, permits in place, availability of technicians including if they are overloaded or not, skill match of the technicians, dependency with other tasks etc. This process can become a discipline and easy to follow if supported systematically by smart tools.
Second, a mobile solution for technicians where they can get all their current and planned task list, equipment locations and details, availability of spare parts, permits etc. In addition , it will add significant value, if they can get SOPs, design documents or videos as well which they can access on their mobile. Ability to update the status of the tasks on the device will significantly reduce their need to go to office.
Smarter technology which assist the planners and technicians and a disciplined approach can help organizations to achieve significant gains in technicians productivity and reach desired wrench time.